totter

verb
tot·​ter | \ ˈtä-tər How to pronounce totter (audio) \
tottered; tottering; totters

Definition of totter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to move unsteadily : stagger, wobble
2a : to tremble or rock as if about to fall : sway
b : to become unstable : threaten to collapse

totter

noun

Definition of totter (Entry 2 of 2)

: an unsteady gait : wobble

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Synonyms for totter

Synonyms: Verb

careen, dodder, lurch, reel, stagger, teeter, waddle

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Examples of totter in a Sentence

Verb

The child tottered across the room. He tottered away to bed.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The twin turbines of a Dornier 228 cargo plane roar to life as the bulging khaki figures totter single file up through the side door and into the plane’s belly, which is packed with pallets of firefighting equipment that will be dropped with them. Mark Jenkins, National Geographic, "When wildfires break out, this elite team of ‘smokejumpers’ parachute in," 12 June 2019 The $500,000 production ($3 million today) grossed $13 million ($80 million now) and was one of only three profitable films the financially tottering MGM made that year. Bill Higgins, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hollywood Flashback: 'Shaft' Ignited a Blaxploitation Movie Craze in 1971," 8 June 2019 The world watched mesmerized as the once-mighty Soviet Empire gave a sigh, tottered, and collapsed. Simon Jenkins, Harper's magazine, "Occidents Happen," 10 Apr. 2019 She is dressed in a coral Miu Miu shift dress, her willowy 5-foot-9 frame tottering above silver glitter platform sandals that she’s paired (rather ingeniously) with mustard-striped ankle socks. Evelyn Crowley, Vogue, "Elle Fanning on Starring in Miu Miu’s New Fragrance Campaign—And the One Look She’ll Never Try," 15 Jan. 2019 The sun rising outside your window illuminates an elephant tottering down the street, its legs impossibly skinny stilts a hundred feet tall. Devin Powell, Discover Magazine, "Shape Shifters," 28 Sep. 2018 What conservatism seeks to accomplish through that reconfiguration of the old and absorption of the new is to make privilege popular, to transform a tottering old regime into a dynamic, ideologically coherent movement of the masses. Ezra Klein, Vox, "The rise of YouTube’s reactionary right," 24 Sep. 2018 Bureaucracy and physical and legal hurdles have delayed demolition of hundreds of tottering structures. Fox News, "Damaged buildings, graft haunt Mexico City year after quake," 18 Sep. 2018 As a heat wave gripped England over the weekend and the government tottered, with two cabinet ministers resigning on Monday, there were enormous impromptu gatherings on the street, some celebratory, some that turned violent. Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "Gareth Southgate Makes Own Luck in Guiding England to World Cup Semifinals," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Lee’s most memorable speech bubbles totter on the edge between speech, poetry, and outright doggerel. Noah Berlatsky, The Verge, "The larger-than-life huckster dialogue of Stan Lee," 13 Nov. 2018 Built in the atrium of the Hangzhou Star Avenue Mall, the Neobio Family Park makes the teeter-totters and merry-go-rounds of the past feel like ancient toys. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Feast your eyes on this next-level indoor park," 14 Aug. 2018 Instead of stitching the hipbelt to the back panel, Kelty feeds it behind the lumbar pad and allows it a few millimeters of movement, as if each wing of the hipbelt were a playground teeter-totter. Kelly Bastone, Outside Online, "The Best Women’s Backpacking Packs," 13 July 2018 The bow teeter-totters delicately over two large industrial light bulbs planted in a crude wooden bowl. Joseph Giovannini, New York Times, "Swiss Institute Has a New Home Ready-Made for Art," 28 June 2018 Image Bit totters on perilously high leopard-print heels, and sports a pink wig and mismatched clothes. New York Times, "Review: More Than the Couples Are Odd in ‘The Hollower’," 25 May 2018 Others spin hula hoops, or leap through the air with a large teeter-totter. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland.com, "Cirque du Soleil will bring acrobatic 'Corteo' tour to Cleveland this fall (photos)," 7 May 2018 But as we near a few huts made of branches and draped with mosquito netting, a slender woman in a worn T-shirt and sari totters toward us. Ann Gibbons, Science | AAAS, "Farmers, tourists, and cattle threaten to wipe out some of the world’s last hunter-gatherers," 17 May 2018 Six robots at a time would square off in the arena, scrabbling at yellow milk crates and trying to lift them onto a 6-foot teeter totter. Matthew Ormseth, courant.com, "Bot Battle Royale: Robotics Teams Square Off At Hartford Public," 8 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'totter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of totter

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Noun

1709, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for totter

Verb

Middle English toteren

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Learn More about totter

Statistics for totter

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for totter

The first known use of totter was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for totter

totter

verb

English Language Learners Definition of totter

: to move or walk in a slow and unsteady way
: to become weak and likely to fail or collapse

totter

verb
tot·​ter | \ ˈtä-tər How to pronounce totter (audio) \
tottered; tottering

Kids Definition of totter

1 : to sway or rock as if about to fall
2 : to move unsteadily : stagger

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More from Merriam-Webster on totter

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with totter

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for totter

Spanish Central: Translation of totter

Nglish: Translation of totter for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of totter for Arabic Speakers

Comments on totter

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